The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 2, January 8, 2023, Article 11


Pete Smith submitted these thoughts on medals with embedded precious stones. Thanks. -Editor

  Medals with Precious Stones

1966 ANA Badge Recent discussion of medals with precious stones brought to mind the ANA convention medals issued in 1966. The convention badge had a name badge and hanging red, white and blue ribbon and hanging bronze medal.

The building shown on the badge is a representation of the Chicago Water Tower. The white dot in the field near the upper left is a small diamond chip as the 1966 convention was the 75-year diamond jubilee for the ANA.

Less frequently seen is the exhibitor medal. It features the convention badge with a reproduction at the top. The black dot on the badge near the left top is a hole that once contained a diamond chip. I don't know the story but I can guess that a previous owner removed the diamond thinking it could be sold at a great price.

  ANA For Merit of Exhibit medal 1966 ANA For Merit of Exhibit medal 1966 Crop

I suspect that owner found the diamond to be worthless and the medal without the diamond was worth-less. The missing diamond could be replaced at little cost but I never made the effort.

  What I Learned About Diamonds

During the time of high gold prices around 2010, I was a gold jewelry and scrap buyer for Grove Coin in Woodbury, Minnesota. My boss would handle the purchase of any large diamonds of a half carat or larger. Smaller stones that came with gold jewelry were inconsequential.

A customer would come in with a plastic bag and a mixed lot of chains, rings, tie tacks and cuff links. I would sort the items, weigh 10K, 14K and 18K separately and make an offer that was usually accepted. I explained that my offer was based on gold weight with no added value for any stones. Occasionally a customer would ask to have a diamond removed and we would give it back to them. The scrap went into a tub to be melted.

I heard from a customer who gave her wedding diamond to her young daughter who played with it in her sandbox.

It might take several months to accumulate enough scrap for a melt. A batch might include holed or damaged U. S. gold coins, odd denomination world gold coins and occasional gold medals. We tried to have the lot average 14K or higher.

The scrap would be melted, a bar poured and stones would float to the top and be imbedded in a layer of slag. As a service, the smelter would separate off the stones and colored glass and return those to us.

There was also a process to frost the stones with hydrofluoric acid (HF) to separate diamonds from cubic zirconium (CZ). We had glass vials with scrap diamonds sitting around for years before they would be sold.

The industry term for scrap diamonds is melee. It is measured in points with 100 points to a carat and five carats to a gram. There are melee buyers who travel the country and buy from accumulators like us. I recall a deal where we sold for $1 a point of $100 per carat. Yes, that stuff has a value, but it takes hundreds of transactions over a period of years to accumulate enough for a sale.

We were left with a glass jar with hundreds of colored stones and bits of colored glass. There might be a market for that somewhere, but we never found that market.

A seller with a single small diamond removed from a medal is not going to find a market to sell that stone.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
LOOSE CHANGE: DECEMBER 25, 2022 : NFT Tokens (
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 1, 2023 : Israeli Diamond Industry Medal (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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